4. Assure access and affordability for all students and award Financial Aid equitably to assist students.
As of July 2012, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid had disbursed a total $234.8M to 22,950 students for the 2011-12 academic year.
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid complies with the UNC Finance Improvement and Transformation initiative or UNC FIT. Compliance with UNC FIT includes monthly documentation to confirm compliance with established standards and performance indicators. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid met with the UNC FIT team for an on-site monitoring visit in February 2012. All controls were found to be in place with no observations noted.
The Goodnight Scholars Program celebrated its first graduating class in April 2012 with a Graduation Gala featuring speaker General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Goodnight program continues to grow the number of students involved as well as to develop additional programming opportunities for students to improve leadership skills and grow professionally.
2011-12 brought major changes to some of the foundational federal aid programs. Students are no longer eligible to receive more than 1 full Pell Grant in an academic year, which dramatically impacted studentsí available funding for summer sessions. At the same time, implementation of the IRS Data Retrieval tool meant significant changes to the federal verification process and in many cases made it more challenging for students to submit tax information within required time frames. OSFA staff worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with these new changes to federal programs while helping to ensure that students understood their eligibility and their responsibilities as aid recipients.
In an ongoing effort to provide better communication about the aid application process to students, prospects, and parents, the OSFA has undertaken initiatives to reach out to students through additional channels of communication. These efforts include developing a presence on social media and using Bronto to send personalized html email messages.
Financial Aid Outreach Efforts
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid served as a host site for state-wide FAFSA Day, sponsored by College Foundation of North Carolina. The OSFA continued to partner with colleagues in Admissions and the colleges to provide information sessions to prospective students, and participated in 64 Spend A Day, Open House and other visitation activities aimed at improving yield and informing students about scholarships and financial aid. The office was opened on Saturdays in March and April to be accessible to students and parents visiting the campus for Embrace NC State and College of Engineering Open House events. The staff also provided their financial aid and scholarship expertise by attending 26 non-NC State sponsored events as a service to the community.